One of the treats in rationed Britain in the early 1950s was to go and see Uncle Ferdie(nand). This large and wealthy man in his late seventies ran the family music publishing business(now sold),was very rich,grand and we had chocolates and fruit drinks which we could only dream of at home. He lived in one of those posh mansion blocks near Sloane Square.
As befits a man of his stature and wealth he had pretty little 25 year old Austrian housekeeper plus. Part of the family business was in Germany and Austria.(After both Wars they presented immaculate accounts!). When Uncle Ferdie eventually went to the banquet in the sky he didn’t forget his little Mimi.
His will stipulated that she should receive his dividend payments- in todays’s money£100K a year. But. Of course there is a but,as long as she didn’t marry. The old geezer was putting a pretty big exclusion zone around his concubine. Mimi was a sweet woman and a friend of the family, we would see her twice a year at the family parties.
After a bit she was always seen with Amos a charming doctor who was her live in lover/partner/life companion. They were both Catholics, before that church was totally discredited, and they knew that they were living in sin and that at the door to final paradise a few questions might well be asked. If they got in, it would be only as illegal immigrants.
But in the here and now there were dark clouds. As people died and the publishing business shares got passed around,someone who was not of the old school appeared. He pointed out that, although the letter of Ferdie’s will was being obeyed, the spirit, as she and Amos were living as man and wife was not. Therefore he had QC opinion that she should forgo her large dividend cheque. Which would in future be distributed among the other directors,including my mother.
To their shame this proposal was seriously discussed. Thankfully for whatever reason, principal or practice ,Mimi kept her money and she and Amos lived happily ever after. But what still brings a tear to this rancid eye is the fact that on her death bed,as she slipped at last from Ferdie’s clutches, she married Amos. Her last seconds were spent in a state of grace not sin.Frankly, if she isn’t in heaven I don’t want to go there.